Woman dies after hospital fall

Sipho Ganta with the medical documents of his late mother.

An upset Sipho Ganta from Khayelitsha has accused the staff of Heideveld Community Day Hospital of negligence after his sickly mother, Nobongile, fell from a bed and later died due to the extensive head injuries she sustained.

The Ganta family says Nobongile, who had been staying in Crossroads, was admitted to the hospital towards the end of January after she became ill.

Mr Ganta said his mother had recently been diagnosed with cancer at Lentegeur Hospital.

However, he said, four days later after the diagnosis, his mother got sick and was rushed to the Heideveld hospital on January Wednesday 31.

He claimed the bed his mother was given had been unstable and faulty and when she fell from it, she banged her head against the tiled floor. This happened on Thursday February 1.

The Health Department, however, denied the bed was faulty.

He said his mother was rushed to Groote Schuur Hospital later that day, but doctors at Groote Schuur were unable to operate due to the severity of her internal bleeding.

He said when he visited Groote Schuur the following day, doctors told him that the bleeding had affected her brain and that there was nothing they could do.

Then he was told that the doctors needed the family’s permission to turn off the life-support machine.

When his mother died on Saturday February 3, he said, her face and head had been covered with blood and was swollen.

What angers Mr Ganta most, is that the staff at the Heideveld facility had not immediately informed him when his mother fell. Instead, they had only called him when her condition became critical and she had to be transferred to Groote Schuur Hospital.

It was at Groote Schuur, he said, that doctors told him what had happened – and five days after his mother had died, a doctor at the Heideveld hospital called him to apologise and to request a meeting with him.

At this meeting, he told Vukani, staff told him his mother had been given a faulty bed, that they took full responsibility for what happened and that an investigation into the matter would be launched.

“If the hospital had not given my mother a faulty bed she could be still alive. I want the hospital to pay for what they had done.

“The cause of my mother’s death is unnatural death. The death of my mother has affected me badly. She was the only parent that I have. My father died in 2015 in a car accident coming from work,” he said.

Mr Ganta said he had been to Nyanga police station to open a case and had also filed a complaint with the Department of Health.

He said he planned to sue them and also wanted them to cover the costs of his mother’s funeral which took place in Lady Frere in the Eastern Cape.

Health Department spokesperson, Monique Johnstone, however, said the bed assigned to Ms Ganta had been in working condition and that the woman had sustained a head injury after climbing out of her bed in a confused state and collapsing on the floor.

The medical team then immediately decided to transfer her to Groote Schuur Hospital for “tertiary medical management”, she added.

“An apology was given to the family by the emergency centre’s medical officer for not contacting the family immediately and providing them with a full brief of the incident. The staff involved were disciplined for not following the standard operating procedures in this incident,” Ms Johnstone said.

Nyanga police station spokeperson, Captain Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi, said an inquest docket had been opened.

According to their information, she said, Ms Ganta had died of natural causes at Groote Schuur Hospital after she fell from a bed at the Heideveld Day Hospital.